Wet conditions impacting cereal forage crops in 2024

The very wet conditions last autumn have meant that many farmers were unable to get autumn cereal crops planted but, as ForFarmers Forage Product Manager Mel Digger explains, there are alternative options available to help boost forage stocks.

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“Last autumn’s conditions were not ideal for many farmers,” says Mel Digger. “It started raining in October and it has felt like it has hardly stopped since. If farmers couldn’t get cereals planted in those conditions, there are options available to help with any predicted forage shortfalls that this situation might of created.

“Some autumn cereals, depending on variety and planting conditions, can be planted into the end of February. Check your variety on the recommended list for cereals for the latest safe sowing date,” Mel suggests. “Sowing into colder temperature soils means less capacity for the crop to tiller, so fewer seed heads could develop. This means you might need to increase the seed rate from the one planned in the autumn; talk to your ForFarmers Account Manager about any queries.”

With many areas saturated from recent rain and flooding, the big question if whether conditions will be good enough for sowing spring cereal crops in Feb or March.

“In some cases, we’re suggesting farmers look at putting maize into areas that were destined for spring sowing,” Mel adds. “The later planting dates give longer for the ground to dry out and recover before farmers have to prepare it, not to mention the benefit of the high value forage maize will bring.”

ForFarmers still has availability on some spring cereals, but the weather conditions have had an impact on what varieties are available and cost.

Where fields have been under water or have had run off it is also advisable to check soil nutrient status and structure. In some cases, a crust has formed, particularly on bare soil, which may have created anaerobic conditions below the surface.

Talk to your ForFarmers Account Manager about the best seeds available for your needs and soil testing options.

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